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THE VICTORIAN government announced it had carried out works to improve track conditions and upgrade the Sea Lake rail freight line in north-west Victoria.

Works included the installation of more than 170,000 new sleepers, the addition of over 30,000 tonnes of ballast to the track, maintenance on more than 8000 rail joints and improvements to shunters’ paths and rail sidings.

Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne on Tuesday visited the GrainCorp terminal in Berriwillock. The terminal plays an important role in moving grain to port. The terminal will benefit from the completion of upgrade works on the Sea Lake line.

The Government’s $83 million freight improvement Covid-19 stimulus package also invested $22 million on the Sea Lake line, replacing 67,000 broad-gauge timber sleepers, upgrading more than 3000 rail joints and four level crossings.

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It also saw speed restrictions removed to the GrainCorp terminal at Berriwillock, and grain terminals in Sea Lake and Nullawil to boost reliability and capacity and remove more trucks from local roads.

According to a statement from the state government, 1 million tonnes of grain, valued at $400 million, was moved to port by more than 530 bulk grain trains on the V/Line freight rail network from July 2021 to April this year from 29 active grain sites, including Berriwillock.

An average 650-metre long fully loaded grain train carries approximately $880,000 worth of grain and is equivalent to 50 loaded trucks.

Victorian minister for ports and freight Melissa Horne said: “We’re continuing to support our freight operators and farmers by completing these works on the Sea Lake line – ahead of what is expected to be another bumper harvest.

“The works are all about making it safer, faster and easier for freight operators and farmers to keep transporting thousands of tonnes of grain to port.”

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